An affair with the handlooms………..
It was one of those despairingly cold Decembers that swayed across the poignantly lit streets of Kolkata in West Bengal. We were intrigued by the fact that even under such mild moods, there is a possibility of conducting a handloom fair. As we entered one of the shops whose exterior appearance gave nothing away about what it held inside, we were in for a visual treat and thereby, the mating of sanguine ideas.
What we saw had us transfixed for a while… the abundant beauty, the alluring richness, the gobsmacking creativity and the absolute splendour of our Indian handiworks were everywhere with a modesty that pricked our conscience.
We witnessed purity and exquisiteness in the far-fetched, appeasing handloom works that bore the name of the artisans whose efforts in every thread gleamed with pride without an iota of adulteration.
In spite of what we saw, there was a remarked sadness that blew us all alike…. We could not understand the gap in our culture that made all this work lay there unnoticed, unrecognized and sparingly valued. The richness that existed in their fabulous handiworks became void when it came to their lustreless lives. A market that did not demand for their works seemed to strangulate their dreams of making it big in the clothing business and we could precisely visualise the threat that lay ahead!
We returned to our own cosmopolitan cities and in days, we were sinking into our pragmatic lives that displayed the vogue which was latest according to all the channels and fashion books.
It was a pure coincidence when we stumbled upon the first Mann ki bath address by our PM that was aired on 3 October 2014. While we were eagerly listening to it, at one point, his words caught us off-guard….
“………..When we purchase a Khadi, we are brightening the lives of the lakhs of weavers who toil day and night. Buying a Khadi product is like ushering a Diwali in the homes of the weavers….”
And many of his other speeches told the same, “Khadi has the power to provide employment to crores of people. It has now become a symbol and a centre of interest of the nation’s youth…………”
It was then that the idea first impregnated in our brains.
We realised that only extinct objects are supposed to be preserved in museums…. an identity like our culture needs to be preserved in our everyday lives.
The only way to revive the art which could easily be buried into oblivion is to drag it to the global market, a place it truly deserves.
And then we gave birth to our mission.
We travelled across various parts of India, we knocked the doors of weavers who were oblivious to their own worth and value. Our visits took us to villages in Punjab, Manipur, Meghalaya, Assam and places in Varanasi and we pursued our vision to carry home few of their abundant masterpieces.
Today, we have constructed our purpose to make all of those treasures available to everybody across the world.
There is only one thought that lurks within us all the time….
If we can permit all the western culture and fashion to permeate our lives, why should our own indigenous art stagger behind?
A true art should never die away! We hope that there will be a surge in demand for our Indian handloom weavers who are at the brink of extinction and we stand responsible to redeem their position which is truly theirs!